legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this ex-
Chap. LXX.} 1776. July 2-4.
And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished dye, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.’
These words expressed with precision what had happened in Virginia
; she, as well as other colonies, had perseveringly attempted to repress the slavetrade; the king had perseveringly used his veto to protect it; the governor, clothed with the king's authority, had invited slaves to rise against their masters; but it could not be truly said that all the colonies had been always without blame, in regard to the commerce; or that in America
it had been exclusively the guilt of the king of Great Britain
; and therefore, the severe strictures on the use of the king's negative, so Jefferson
wrote for the guidance of history, ‘were disapproved by some southern gentlemen, whose reflections were not yet matured to the full abhorrence of that traffic; and the offensive expressions were immediately yielded.’
Congress had already manifested its own sentiments by the absolute prohibition of the slave-trade; and that prohibition was then respected in every one of the thirteen states, including South Carolina
This is the occasion, when the slave-trade was first branded as a piracy.
Many statesmen, among them Edmund Pendleton
, president of the Virginia convention, always regretted that the passage